This woodsy resort is located near Starved Rock State Park and offers activities for whole family
Hotel at a Glance: Grand Bear Resort at Starved Rock
For a family getaway from Chicago, the Quad Cities, or Central Illinois, few spots are more alluring than scenic Starved Rock State Park in central Illinois, a year-round hiking destination beloved for its sandstone canyons. Located less than two miles from the state park, Grand Bear Resort draws couples, families, and large groups with its massive indoor waterpark. To enhance the trip, consider a stay at Grand Bear Resort.
- Onsite waterpark: Splash around Grand Bear Falls, the 24,000 square foot indoor waterpark which features a wave pool, water slides, hot tub, lazy river, kiddie pool, and play zones.
- Waterpark concessions: Head over to the Wave Cave to sip on adult beverages or snack on soft-pretzels, Nathan’s Famous all-beef hot dogs, and nachos.
- Where you’ll stay: Guest suites have a Northwoods vibe and also provide the comforts of home, including cable TV and free WiFi.
- Hearty dining is available at Jack’s Place Restaurant & Bar, which serves traditional American dishes. Hours of operation vary, click here to see all dining options.
- Onsite entertainment: Play a round at Canyon Creek Mini Golf, or try your luck at Cave Arcade, featuring over 60 different thrilling games, and open Friday–Sunday.
To view the waterpark hours, click here.
Utica, IL: A Historic Refuge
Located between the Quad Cities, Peoria, and Chicago, Utica, IL offers refuge from the hustle and bustle of daily life in the city and a step back into a more-quaint time. The town was established during the 1830’s along the banks of the Illinois River as a riverside stop from the steamboats that darted up and down the winding river. Visitors today can take a look at the Illinois/Michigan canal, which helped Illinois sailors run river trading during much of the 19th century, or the LaSalle County Historical Museum, which was one a general store for pioneers settling the area.
Just south of Utica and across the Illinois River are Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore each parks’ unique and striking rock formations while soaking in the immense amount of vegetation and wildlife. In summer, the park’s meadows are blanketed with wildflowers including black-eyed susans, partridge-pea blossoms, and purple mint buds. Those who enjoy the water can wind along the Illinois River as it cuts through Starved Rock park.